Late-Holocene evolution of the Mahakam delta, East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Storms, J.E.A. ; Hoogendoorn, R.M. ; Dam, R.A.C. ; Hoitink, A.J.F. ; Kroonenberg, S.B. - \ 2005
Sedimentary Geology 180 (2005)3-4. - ISSN 0037-0738 - p. 149 - 166.
brahmaputra river system - ganges-brahmaputra - sediment transport - subaqueous delta - shelf - ocean - quaternary - record
The late-Holocene Mahakam delta, located along the tropical eastern shore of Kalimantan, Indonesia, is considered to be a textbook example of a mixed tide-fluvial dominated delta system. The delta prograded about 60 km during the past 5000 years, which led to the development of a distinct network of distributary and tidal channels. Wave action is low due the limited fetch in the narrow strait of Makassar. Mahakam River discharge is about a quarter of the Mississippi River discharge and is characterized by absence of flood surges. Therefore, natural levees, crevasse splays and avulsions are absent in the delta plain. For the past four decennia, both modern and ancient Mahakam delta deposits have been studied in detail in order to better understand subsurface Miocene and Tertiary Mahakam deposits, which host large volumes of hydrocarbons. This study focuses on the dynamics and stratal patterns of delta plain, delta-front platform deposits and suspended sediments. Due to the predominance of semi-diurnal tides and the associated flow reversals, depositional patterns are highly variable which has resulted in the formation of characteristic sand-mud couplets. The distribution of the sand-mud couplets found in this study differs from previously proposed conceptual models. They are limited to the fluvial domain and form in the distributary channels (lateral channel bar) or at the fluvial dominated delta-front platform, which flanks the mouth bar deposits in offshore direction. The sand-mud couplets which formed as delta-front platform and lateral channel bar deposits are similar and can only be identified based on their 14C age. The sand content decreases significantly towards the tidal dominated areas due to limitation in transport capacity. Turbidity measurements taken in front of the river mouth also show rapid settlement of river plume sediments. Some 22 new AMS 14C dates show that late Holocene sea level history resembles the eustatic sea level curve giving a first approximation of the Late Holocene sea level history for East Kalimantan. The dates suggest that the progradational delta system evolved under conditions of slowly rising sea level, which compares well to the eustatic sea level curve. In addition, calculated averaged deposition rates of the sand-mud couplets indicate that deposition is driven by the spring-neap tide cycles instead of the daily tidal cycle